Category: Uncategorized

Overcoming Overwhelm: Using Theme as a Tool to Focus your Memoir

by Cathy Luna I’m going to tell you a secret. Last summer, when I’d been working on my memoir for about five years, I complained to a writer friend that I was feeling overwhelmed by my project, awash in all the scraps and scenes and stories I had written in workshops and collected in a Scrivener ‘project’ (the digital equivalent…

Why you should embrace the concept of structure instead of dreading it

  By Susanne Dunlap Structure. Even the word sounds unapproachable. It’s full of hard edges and unfriendly, closed “u’s.” But that’s probably not the reason many writers shudder when they think of structure in relation to their work. Google “structure in fiction,” or “structure in memoir,” and you get a gazillion prescriptive articles and essays and even whole books. You’ll…

Getting it Done

by Assistant Director, Emily Lackey The other day, during a text conversation with a writer friend of mine, she said something that made me stop. While talking about finding the time to write and never having enough time to write and listing off all the things that get in the way of our writing (what else do writers talk about,…

Who is Your Ideal Reader?

By Susanne Dunlap Why do we write? There are so many answers to that question. But I am willing to wager that, contrary to what writers often say aloud, many of us are writing because we want our words to be read. I’m sure we’ve all heard fellow writers say things like, “Oh, I don’t like to think about a…

Black Writers Matter

As our country continues to reel in the wake of George Floyd’s tragic death–and so many other senseless deaths–those of us in predominantly white communities are grappling with helplessness and guilt, reckoning with the ways we may have inadvertently taken part in or benefitted from our nation’s racism. Many of us are asking: what can we do?  We know it…

Beyond “Happily Ever After”

With bestselling author, Emily Nagoski According to the technical definition, a “romance” story has two elements: a central love story, and an optimistic, emotionally satisfying ending – also known as the “happily ever after.” Okay, let’s pause there. Some writers express contempt for the idea of a guaranteed happily-ever-after. They call romance “formulaic,” ignoring the vast range of stories possible…

Behold the Inside Outline

With Susanne Dunlap  “Art is fire plus algebra.” –Jorge Luis Borges The fire in Borges’s quote is the emotional content, the passion of creativity that makes it possible for a writer to get in the “zone” and let the words flow, spending hours, days, weeks, years crafting a book. The Algebra is the structural underpinnings, the shape of your story…

If you don’t want anyone to read your book, you can stop right here

By Susanne Dunlap We all write for a number of reasons—because we love it; because we’re compelled to do it; because we have something important to say; because it gives us deep satisfaction. And it’s a huge accomplishment to have finished a book and have it published, whether it’s through a big-5 contract, an independent press, or self-publishing. We should…

The Truth About Time

What is it about writers and time? The number one complaint that I hear from other writers, and also inside my own head, is there is never enough time for writing. It seems, as a species, writers lack time more than any other commodity–maybe even more than self-confidence. But is it really true? I remember a few years ago, in…

Clapperboard

Scenes – Not Just for Screenwriters, with author Susanne Dunlap

Everyone is familiar with the idea of a scene. In a movie, scenes are pretty much all there is. A movie is made up of scene after scene after scene. Writing prose is different, though. In prose, you have the ability to write in both scenes and narration. What’s the difference? Scenes are where you bring your story to life.…